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Grateful Dead Live at Santa Clara County Fairgrounds on 1968-05-18

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Grateful Dead Live at Santa Clara County Fairgrounds on 1968-05-18

Topics Live concert

Alligator-> Drums-> Alligator-> Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)-> Feedback

Collection GratefulDead
Band/Artist Grateful Dead
Venue Santa Clara County Fairgrounds
Location San Jose, CA

Source Audience
Lineage AUD Master > ? > SHN
Taped by
Transferred by Julian (Jools) Elliott


Comments from
Two audience masters are in circulation, one recorded in mono on 3" reels made by Tom Ordon with a single handheld mic in the audience, the other with mics on the stage, supposedly by Jorma.

I'm unsure as to which one this is.


Reviewer: GatorGuy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 23, 2014
Subject: Love Spring '68 concerts
I have never found (but keep searching) for April, 1968 recordings from the brief East Coast tour and in particular their performance at Thee Image on Miami Beach. It was an incredible show and this May session reminds me a lot of it. My favorites are definitely the Spring 1968 shows when they peaked with this set list before Dark Star, St Stephen etc reset the performance list. I keep telling myself that maybe the 1968 Mystery Tapes are mislabled and are actually the spring East Coast tour because they certainly sound like what I hear in Miami. Whether they are or not, this performance and the Mystery Tapes get me close enough to reliving the Miami shows. The quality of the recording is irrelevant. The essence is there.
Reviewer: clementinescaboose - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 24, 2010
Subject: Dirt Nasty
It's been beat to death, but i agree this is easily one of the most horrid sounding shows on the IA. actually, considering what was used to record it and how close Jorma was to the actual musicians, it's not THAT bad, but i'm an admitted SBD snob. That stated, this is a FUCKING MIND-BLOWING Alligator>Caution>Feedback. Totally worth putting up with the shit sound..You gotta hear this!
Reviewer: L. Rosley - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 31, 2009
Subject: Killer set – terrible recording
This is a bad quality recording, but the set is so good that I have to give it a 5. This is another wild, hairy, high energy performance of early 1968, like so many others here at Jerry is pure electricity on the Alligator after Drums. If you like the Anthem-of-the-Sun-era shows, you’ll find this to be a hot one.

The “Mountain Jam” riff was common in this period -- it’s on Anthem of the Sun.

The set ends in dynamite feedback, gradually subsiding to a single tap of the cymbal.

As for the recording, you can barely hear Pigpen’s vocal. There’s also clipping (distortion). Fortunately, there’s another, somewhat better recording here:
Reviewer: Mike Ashenfelder - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 17, 2008
Subject: Nice "Feedback"
"Feedback" takes a few minutes to shake off the busy-ness of the music that led up to it, but then it eventually gets sonically tasty. Even though the good stuff is brief, it's always a treat when the Dead let the song breathe, listen to each other and explore.
Reviewer: vguy72 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 17, 2008
Subject: Even sober....
I feel like I dropped some micro-dot when I revel in this sick Alligator. Handle with care to be sure. Truly a natural high. Thanks Archive, once again. Gems abound on this site.
Reviewer: lanzarishi - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 16, 2008
Subject: feedback
I have to say this is the most inspired Feedback I have yet to hear. Everyone contributing. Makes Merzbow and every other noizeband sound like children!
Reviewer: JamminJerome - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 4, 2007
Subject: tasty tidbit
muddy AUD but a smoking short set!


5 star show - 1 star for sound = 4 stars
Reviewer: Chris U. - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 1, 2006
Subject: Yeah, I like this
Reviewer: Earthquake Country - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 11, 2006
Subject: Wow! Best Alligator Ever.
Can't believe I'm writing my first review of an AUD, but this one is that good. The Alligator>Drums>Jam>Alligator reprise is the best rendition I've ever heard. To think that Jorma had to get some of what they were doing down for his own interest speaks volumes as to where they were at in the Spring/Summer of '68. As with most AUDs, some of the "air" in the recording can be attenuated by dropping the 8K level in the EQ. Or as Phil would say, "drop the level at 8000 cycles please, Bear". Enjoy.
Reviewer: Hippie Joe - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 23, 2006
Subject: Yeah It's Great
This is a cool show, you know there used to be nothing but muddy shows like sideways-eighth gen auds, a tape like this is much better but I digress.
This show was my birthday yo Too bad my Dad would never have let me go back then
OTOH had I been, I would probably not have been backstage anyway to hear Weir go off on the proles.
What a kidder
Reviewer: capn doubledose - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 23, 2006
Subject: One of the best Cautions ever
This is rocking and way better than Monterey.
Reviewer: familiarfan - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 31, 2006
Subject: Who are you?
Alligator must be more underrated than I thought to quite a few of you for only two reviews by now!

Phleshy it's nice to know someone has similar tastes in Grateful Dead style.

And wasn't it fun getting that way?

In Alligator it almost sounds like a primative version of Darkness Jam at about 9:00 minutes.
Reviewer: VA slim - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 3, 2005
Subject: hidden nugget indeed!
suprised more folks havent braved this aud. recording yet.
as previous review states, quality is great for 68 aud., better overall mix than 6-14, and it just seems that may and june of 68 were such a period of complete ballistic unconscious playing.
too bad we only have three recordings of variable quality.
i would have to surmise this is indeed jorma's onstage recording and not tom's in the audience, if you look at deadlists it states that the "fuck the proliterate" speech from bob was a conversation w/ jorma after the gig, and also jormas tape has the cut into the first few secs of alligator.
regardless this is such a unbelievably hot period between early 68 and august 68, with the best song combos & most fluid transitions, that it would be a sin to ignore these recordings.
overall for an audience there is some
over-saturation, probably from the mics being onstage, but not much hiss which is a good sign of a low gen copy.
about as good as a 68 aud. can get.
a+ performance//setlist too.
i give it an 8.5 overall on my 10pt scale
(4.75 performance, 3.75 sound (for era)).
Reviewer: phleshy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 9, 2004
Subject: Review revision 9/8/04
This show, taped by Jorma Kaukonen and some other Dead fan, contains one of the best Alligators ever played. The absolutely mind-bending Drums (with Pigpen screaming and bashing his organ keys)is worth the price alone, as well as Bobby's profane rant after Feedback. "Fuck the proletariat!" he shouts over and over.
Anyway, this show I think is a lost Dead gem among tape collectors. Yes the sound quality is grungy and rough, but it's actually better than 6/14/68. This may not have the unique setlist that show had, but this performance could easily match that show. As presented on this archive, however, I think this show is under-represented. There was two AUD tapes for this show, why not make a composite of them for this seeding, or at least attempt a clean-up? The sound could be improved somewhat. Just goes to show how ignored this little nugget is in GD history. Use it as filler; it's well worth the 35+ minutes of disc space.
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